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Diary » Year 2010




Finally, since snow accumulated slowly we began intensive tracking. On daily basis we crossed with Tomas field about 30-40 km long. Day before yesterday 04/01 each of us crossed several valleys in the more or less viable field. But there was no trace of lynxes. Just before sunset trail indicated cross a young wolf. After about two kilometers at 1,000 meters high, another two wolves. They were already adults, looking at the traces. They went through such a scarp, often on their butts. The young wolf was directed at them only from the opposite side of the hill. Wolves left the area where I watched five deer and eleven chamois feeding in the fall. They directed the young wolf. By the traces, there remained at least four other deer and chamois there. Wolves, however, took it straight against slope through the main valley. An hour after sunset, back at the cottage, we heated the fireplace and dried our shoes. Vlado Trulík came, so we sat in a friendly debate. We couldn’t stop thinking about wolves, so we sat in the car and took it the same direction against slope where they still could’ve remained. It was -9 0C, however it felt colder with the wind. It wasn’t the best weather to tempt wolves but we still tried to howl several times. After about six minutes of our howling we heard a wolf howling back at us twice in the row. Satisfied we left, each of us planning the next day march in our heads.




In the morning we split the path on the ground so that we walked as many places where lynxes could be staying. Together it was about 60 km of terrain between the three people. Earth was frozen in concrete, -5 0C. Ten centimeter layer of snow powder made walking extremely difficult. Each of us was alone in remote parts of the valley, mostly without a signal on the phone. We utilized walkie-talkies. It was up to each of us to choose a route carefully so that nothing would happen. The return was in the dark. We evaluated our learning in the cottage. Neither of us had any track of lynxes. Nevertheless Vlado tracked traces of wolves from yesterday. They were four. Last night after we heard them howling they hunted a pig down and they were fisting on it when Vlado disturb them. Too bad that he forgot the camera, as he only took some photos with his phone. 




In the afternoon Thomas installed a photo trap in residues of wild boar. It took him several hours until he located snow covered remains in remote terrain. After another night on the site, there were already several traces left after lynxes. They were first traces of lynx since 21 December 2009. The animal often moved on fallen tree trunks. We will see if they return to the remains of the wild boar.




We learned about the movement of the two features at the bottom of Luboch. Valley. Features were around early in the morning about five AM. Later, they were seen by forest workers about 7:15 AM and at noon by a guard of National Park Velka Fatra. We knew something was wrong. Thomas got to the point where the feature should have appeared and right away he heard its babies. He managed to take some shoots of one of them. Young features alternately passed through the main valley, through the river, or bridge. Allegedly there were already observed this morning at 5 am and the previous evening kilometer higher around 8 pm. Their short-circuit behavior suggest that somewhere in that area they lost their mother and try to find it calling out sometimes. Milos and his son arrived at the place at 4.30pm. Both of the features echoed in opposite sides of the valley. We observed them another 2 hours at one kilometer stretch if features wouldn’t come down to the road. So stressed animals could be run over by passing cars. Other surprise awaited us when we found a fresh wolf track in the monitored part of the road. Young features could stop the roll to avoid meeting with wolves.



06:45 in the morning we were again at the spot. We had divided among the three of us section approximately three-kilometers long in which features could be found. It didn’t snow at night and everywhere were signs young features. Older or fresh traces? We relied on their howl, but it was quiet. The snow started to fall again about 7:00. By half past ten, neither we found fresh tracks, neither we heard their voices. We circulated the valley slopes but without any success. We were going to check on one of the resting places but with a telescope we can see that the doors are up. Therefore to use the time we further mapped one of the side valleys during three hours.  The day before yesterday, there were two of lynxes there. We believe we could deal with our animals considering the size of the feet traces and their behavior.

One of them even came down about 100 meters above our cottage. After a long time, even the biggest feature in the valley came back with a width its footprint of 10 cm. We took a sample of its faeces for further DNA tests. We waited with Tomas over two hours on top of a spot were features usually go. Maybe we could film one of them. We weren’t lucky, however, we froze well. Before sunset, the two of us once again choose to check the bottom section of the valley, seven kilometers below, where young features previously were. It snowed, but this day across the valley lynxes didn’t pass. To be absolutely sure, Thomas checked this section again at 9pm but also without any success.



Snow moved into the rain. Thomas found fresh tracks of lynx in the side valley where we weren’t lucky enough to see traces from features yesterday. He followed fresh tracks and discovered places where the feature was trying to hunt but ended up bathing in the stream. After his failed attempt to hunt, lynx licked his body on the floe. After drying its hair, he re-mapped terrain and hunted, again unsuccessfully. Today it was mostly raining. The terrain was like an ice skating rink. Thomas left to remove one of our old photo traps from residues of chamois. It took photos only of jay-birds, martens, foxes and raven. Early evening he went to check on one of our resting facilities and realized that the feature was starring at it from about 20 meters away from the rocks.




Thomas found traces of lynx near field station where they were brought up. Another unsuccessful attempt to hunt. We were thrilled that at least one of our features established itself in nature because it has been already over half a year since on its own. Lynx surveyed Thomas car, checked out the cottage and in addition, it "prayed" in front of the cross probably to increase the percentage of successful hunting. We hope soon we will find a successful attempt to catch some food. We'll see what happens in the coming days.



We had an incredible joy. After overtaking the cottage last week by one of our features, we eagerly anticipated what would happen. And something had happened. The  photo trap above our cottage photographed Muro. To be sure it was Muro, we reviewed some of thousands of photos that we have had of Lisa and Muro, compared their differences in color marks. Muro has visited us previously, 5 months ago, when he was photographed on the bridge over the creek Lubochnianka. Finally we had some “photo" evidence that at least one of our features had successfully established itself in the wilds of the Great Fatra. The fact that Muro spent seven months in the wild proved that it has successfully learned to hunt and he became a wild lynx. From photos, it is clear that the animal is in perfect condition.




Evidence of functionality of resting devices signalization, is done by trapping foxes. Once we receive a report on the fallen door, we visit the site as soon as possible to set free the animal. It is interesting that trapped animals don’t fear us. Maybe they are familiar with us and know we won’t hurt them. While I went into the backpack to get my camera, the fox sat quietly then laid down and waited. During the whole time, doors were only supported and I was four meters away from the trap. It could have run out any time. Finally, it decided to go and got lost in the dark forest.


Fox captured



Withheld deer



Tonight, wolves stripped charmois nearby road of the frozen surface of river Lubochnianka. The animal laid on thin ice and was momentarily threatened to fall down under the ice.  Risking, we could only get close to the chamois with the help of a ladder and rope and then pulled it to the remote location with photo trap.

Rys-Kysuce.jpg Features in Javorníky
Vlado excelled once again in Javorníky. Although it looked like he didn’t bother with me while singing, finally he appeared on both sides and I now know that (K1P, K1L) are the same.

Tri-rysy.jpg Three features
Vlado suspected that in his study area, there were four features. It seemed right, based on the spotting of the features on the photos taken so far. Here, he had almost the entire staff together.



On 7th of January 2010 we reported in our diary about two baby features that had behaved unnaturally. In broad daylight and during nighttime, they were running for two days on the road and its surroundings and at the bottom of the valley. Their behavior suggested that they lost mother. Until today we have observed that part of the valley and tracking of baby features on the snow continued. They both were present about three kilometers from the places where we observed them. Often it occurred, that an adult lynx with 8 cm foot trace was close by them. In the area where there are features we have placed a photo trap since 3 weeks ago. The first inspection of the photo trap was performed after two weeks but it didn’t catch any photos of our lynx. We will leave the camera there for a while and see. According to the traces in these two side-valley, features still occur. To get them in front the lens wants patience. The photo above showed traces of lynx on one of its typical stands from which it had had an overview of grazing animals in against and the slope way below.



Last week, buckskin withhold by wolves started to defrost. Interest in food started to show first by tits, jay, fox and the raven. A few meters away around 13.2 and two young features passed. They were the offspring of lynx from the middle of the valley. That time they didn’t show any interest in frozen buckskin. It was a pity that we were not able to place photo traps on to marked places that were typically close to the valley roads. These stable marker routes were used regularly with features. This week, one of those places, was also marked even by wolves.



During the last week we were able to track two adult features. Animals often walked just behind or next to each, if they were touching. In several places, where they were mating there were countless feet marks. They were jumping, running to and played each other. These two features that resided in one of the spruce coppice also visited another exited lynx with two brought up features. These were the pups we had been tracking for last two weeks but mostly without their mother. At that time the lynx had to be mother probably with the adult male who she came to visit but this time with their pups. The coppice was so run down from these features, we had difficulties to read the traces of their movements.


Lynx, followed by two brought up features, stayed with the male for less than two days. Whether it came to a fight with another female  lynx, we couldn’t tell form the feet marks on the snow. It melted quickly and heavy drops fall from the trees, that it damaged the tracks. On the picture above the text you can see the lynx and the feature going side by side. We found a place where one of its offspring tried to mate with its mother. An adolescent male, who had not yet been fetus. About three meters from this place we also found a valuable finding, dropping from one of the features. Droppings traveled into a sterile container of alcohol for DNA tests.


Badgers increased their activity when their main activity was to sleep since December. At the beginning of March their primary task was to litter burrow in which the female put their young. They collect whole tufts of dry grass, which has the best thermal insulation properties. Around the nest they keep it clean, trying to pick each stem, which fell out on their way to the burrow. When the pups emerge in a few months, playing games in front of the burrow, we will try to shoot a few scenes from their lives into the film. It will technically difficult, as badgers are nocturnal animals.


Web.jpg Winter is not coming to an end. Last week we had fall of 40-50 cm of new snow. The long winter and worsening weather conditions didn’t suit to animals. Even for us moving on the ground was extremely difficult. Each information regarding movements of the features was worth 3 liters of our sweat. During the tracing features, we found several deaths, especially deer, which were touched by foxes. Next week's will be even worse for the animals. It is to get cooler and wet snow will freeze over. From the tracing it is clear that the predators, such as features, were focusing on dead pieces of meat during this time.

Brloh.jpg During the mapping of terrain I was at an altitude of 894 meters, just above wood logging point. I stood in the heart of Big Fatra National Park and by looking at the environment and I felt sick in my stomach. One wood logging point next to the other. Below me, guys were serving lift in the glade long 390 m. I stood next to the rocks high about 5 m while Lilica, sitting next to me, was suspiciously looking at the rocks distant 20 m. The moment later, the dog walked cautiously in direction of the rocks with its nose to the ground. I still couldn't see anything. I put my backpack down and the dog returned. I went to see. Several meters from the rock there was a semicircular hole two meters wide, going under the rocks. It appeared the bear den. I returned to my backpack to fetch my camera and flashlight. From the dog's behaviour, it was already clear to me that there wasn't any bear inside. After sighting of the nest inside, it looked to me that it was occupied at the beginning of wood production. It was difficult to say whether it was female or male bear. The peat inside of the den was either trodden or mined. Space dimensions were almost perfect for a bear. It was by four meters long, one and half meters high and by two and a half meter wide. The space in front of the den was not trodden, therefore one could suggest that, it was rather inhabited by female bear from which didn't leave often small juveniles in early March.



We often though what had happened with our unexpected visitor from last year- a small bear cub. We hoped that after spending the whole day by the house it finally found its mother. It seemed so.  Not far from the cottage, at the carcasses of chamois withheld by wolves, there was a photo taken with the photo trap of a mother bear and its two cubs.


In case that a bear cub appears close to a man without its mother nearby, under no circumstances it can be handled. You have to move away and leave it to its fate ... Otherwise, it will end in the zoo. We raised absolute quiet in the cottage, and although it was still cold, we didn't burn the chimney. In most cases, mothers find their offsprings, as in this case ...



Carcass of Red deer caught by wolf pack.


Maco.jpg Vladovi sa podarili za pomoci fotopasce unikátne zábery značkujúceho medveďa. Takzvané medvedie stromy využívajú medvede nachádzajúce sa v určitom teritóriu na odovzdanie svojich pachov pričom sa snažia urobiť záhryz čo najvyššie . Zároveň pri takomto strome zistia, ešte aké jedince sa v teritóriu nachádzajú. Vlado tu umiestnil fotopascu pretože pri tomto strome zistil aj pohyb vlkov a rysov. Na fotografii je pre porovnanie aj záber stromu a biotopu cez deň.


Upytliačený_jeleň_v_národnom_parku_Malá_Fatra.jpg Zrejme 05.09.2010 bol upytliačený jeleň na území národného parku Malá Fatra. Na fotografii je zviera bez hlavy. Pytliaci tiež vyrezali mäso zo stehien a okolo chrbtice.

Rysica_s_mladými.jpg Jedna z Vladových fotopascí urobila najunikátnejšie zábery na ktorých je vidno rysicu so štyrmi mláďatami. Štyri mláďatá vo voľnej prírode sú zriedkavosťou, ktorú doteraz zrejme nik nezdokumentoval na fotografii.
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